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Department of Chemistry Aurora Clark

Clark, Aurora


Director Center for Institutional Research Computing

Interim Director, Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology

Deputy Director, IDREAM Energy Frontier Research Center

Laboratory Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Fellow, American Chemical Society


Fulmer 275
Pullman, WA 99164-4630

(509) 335-3362

twitter: @chemnetworks


Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2003-2005
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM

Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, 2003
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

B.S. Chemistry, 1999
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA


Solution Phase Chemistry – Controlled and Manipulated by Chemical Networks

The organization and dynamic features of solvation are essential driving forces for many industrial and biological processes. Solvation can be understood through molecular self interactions that can be described using both electronic structure methods, and statistical mechanical techniques. However the analysis of these interactions is key to being able to derive enough new chemical insight to control and manipulate solution phase behavior. In this context we are active developers of graph-theoretical methods that interpret chemical systems through their intermolecular networks. Our moleculaRnetworks and ChemNetworks software programs convert cartesian coordinates of chemical systems into intermolecular graphs that are then data-mined to understand new correlating relationships, look for patterns in interactions that are related to reactivity, and can even be related to thermodynamic properties.


1) Supramolecular organization within complex solutions (extreme acidity/basicity, electrolytes), particularly as it pertains to the nuclear fuel cycle and separations technologies (as part of the Energy Frontier Research Center on Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials)

2) Solvent organization in confined environments as it relates to separations and storage in nanoporous materials (part of the Department of Energy Center for a Nanoporous Materials Genome)

3) Solvent organization and dynamics as it pertains to the formation liquid interfaces relevant to environmental remediation at legacy waste sites and separations technologies (funded by DOE Basic Energy Sciences, Heavy Element Program)

Selected Publications

  • Clark, A. E.; Braley, J.; Yang, P. Coordination of Actinides and the Chemistry Behind Solvent Extraction, in Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Actinide Chemistry, Wiley, 2017, In Press.
  • Freiderich, J.; Burn, A.; Leigh, M.; Nash, K.; Clark, A. E. A Combined Density Functional Theory and Spectrophotometry Study of the Bonding Interactions of [NpO2ŸM]4+ Cation-Cation Complexes, Inorganic Chemistry, 2017, 56, 4788–4795
  • Kelley, M. P.; Yang, P.; Clark, S. B.; Clark, A. E. Structural and Thermodynamics Properties of the Curium(III) Ion Solvated by Water and Methanol. Inorganic Chemistry, 2016, 55, 4992-4999.
  • Ghadar, Y.; Christiansen, S. L.; Clark, A. E. Influence of Aqueous Ionic Strength Upon Liquid:Liquid Interfacial Structure and Dynamics, Fluid Phase Equilibria, 2016, 407, 126-134. Invited article – special issue Aqueous Solutions: Bulk Fluids and Interfaces.
  • Kelley, M.; Donley, A.; Clark, S.; Clark, A. E. Structure and Dynamics of NaCl Ion Pairing in Solutions of Water and Methanol Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2015, 119, 15652-15661.
  • More…